Finance Guide

How to Check Your Credit Score

Your credit score is an important measure. Potential lenders use it when they want to find out how well you’ve paid back lenders in the past. We’ve provided some information on how to check your credit score and some frequently asked questions about the score.

Where can I find my credit score?

Federal law says that you can check your score once a year for free. To do that, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.

It’s also become common practice for credit card companies to include your credit score with every statement. Check your statement and if you can’t find it, ask your credit card company about including it.

Does it cost anything to check my score?

You are entitled to one free score a year. TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian--the three big credit bureaus--will charge you a nominal fee to get your score anytime.

How often does my score change?

This is completely uncertain since all lending institutions have their own reporting timetable. You can sign up for MyFICO for a fee and you can receive weekly updates on your score.

At Riverhead Nissan, we've had a lot of experience with customers and their questions about financing and credit. If this page didn't answer your questions, make sure you check out our page covering everything that goes into determining your credit score or stop by Riverhead Nissan. We'll be happy to answer any questions that you might have!


What Determines Your Credit Score?

Your credit score is a number that lets prospective lenders know how reliable you are as a borrower. It’s really that simple. After you can get your head around that, there are a number of factors that go into your score.

  1. How long you’ve been borrowing (and paying back)

    Remember, your credit score is used by lenders to get an idea of how well you will pay them back. So, if you don’t have much of a credit history, it’s more difficult for them to make that decision. This is why length of credit history can affect your credit score.

  2. Mix of credit

    Lenders also want to see if you can handle different kinds of credit. This further proves that you are reliable and financially responsible.

  3. Payment history

    This is the single most determining factor when it comes to your credit score. It’s simple. Have you made your payments on time? Late payments are most often the cause of a lower credit score.

  4. How much you owe

    Owing money is actually a good sign. You want to have a strong credit history. It’s about the ratio of how much credit is available to you and how much you owe.

  5. New credit

    When you open a number of accounts in a short period of time, this can signal to your lenders that you are in financial trouble.

Want more information? Stop by the Riverhead Nissan Finance Department- our trained staff is happy to help answer any questions that you might have!


How Much Should Your Vehicle Down Payment Be?

Buying a new car is an investment that has to last for years, if not a decade, for most drivers. Monthly payments can be a strain and, as a result, many drivers choose to make a larger down payment to help reduce the amount borrowed. Still, other drivers put down a small amount of money and deal with higher monthly payments. How much should your down payment be?

A lender uses a down payment to help offset the cost of the car and effectively reduce the risk they take when helping a borrower finance their new ride. The larger the down payment, the less risk the lender takes. A larger down payment also indicates that the borrower is more likely to pay off the entirety of the loan.

As for what the right down payment is, many dealerships have a minimum requirement that varies from brand to brand and model to model. As a general rule, a buyer should put up at least 10% of the car’s value as a down payment. If a borrower has low credit, a 20% down payment will be more enticing to lenders.

Before you make a down payment, take in any rebates, trade-in vehicles, and other incentives into account! Do you have any additional questions? Don't hesistate to stop by the Riverhead Nissan Finance Department. We're happy to help in any way that we can!